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Staying Legal and Safe With Modified Cars

By: Tracy Whitelaw - Updated: 7 Feb 2017 | comments*Discuss
 
Modifying Your Car Illegal Car Neon

Staying safe and legal when modifying your car is extremely important. Although most people focus on how good their car looks, it's essential to remember that too many mods can affect the driveability of your car as well as put you on the wrong side of the law. If you're planning to do mods, make sure you know some of the dangers and stay safe and legal when doing so.

Undercar Lighting and the Law

Many individuals who are fans of car modding are keen to put neon's under their car. It does look good, it certainly makes the car stand out in the evening, but most people aren't aware of the laws involved in doing so. In theory, undercar lights are legal if:

  • You are unable to see the actual tubes – the glow from the lights is fine, but seeing the actual tubes is illegal. The best option is to ensure that when you fit the lights, you have an on/off switch to control when you use them and use caution.
  • The lights must not cause a distraction to yourself or others – the lights can be deemed to be a distraction anyway, but many people will be subjective on this. The reason they must not cause a distraction is clearly to prevent any accidents and to keep people safe on the road.

Always remember that although it may be annoying for you to be deemed as unsafe on the road due to this particular mod, it's important to realise that the police are simply trying to keep the road safe. If they do pull you over, be polite and remember to switch them off at their request. This is also true for interior neon's, which can be seen to reduce visibility because of the reflection in the windscreen.

Tinted Windows, Safety and the Law

Tinted windows have been around in cars for a long time and there still remains some confusion as to what level of tint is legal. Often you will see cars driving around with very dark tints, yet be told that they are dangerous as they restrict proper vision from the vehicle. The law is actually relatively straight forward.

  • The Law states that you are not allowed to tint your windscreen or your front windows at all. Any tinting that is carried out forward of the middle of the car is illegal, however you can if you wish tint the back windows and rear windscreen to any level you choose.
  • The new law was brought in on Jan 1st 2004 after a serious accident between a motorbike and a car with dark tints occurred. It was concluded that the car was at fault as it was difficult to see out of the dark tints.

If you have your windows tinted at the front, you can expect to be pulled over by the police and they are fully within their rights to ask you to have it removed. Even if your tints were carried out before the law came into being, you may still need to abide by it.

Laser/Radar Detectors and Traffic Safety

Fitting a police laser/radar detector to your car is generally not about being safe on the road. No matter what most people say, it is usually to simply ensure that you know where the speed traps are and can slow down before them. This generally means that you regularly drive too fast which is never a good thing for safety on the road. Legally, you can use radar/laser detectors in the UK, but not in many countries throughout Europe.

There are a number on the market, including the ever popular Road Angel which is a GPS based detector. GPS based detectors have a database that contains locations of cameras and then warns you of any potential cameras on your route. Other popular types include Radar Detectors which scan the area for signals that are emitted by various camera types. These are both completely legal, but laser jammers aren't !

Staying safe on the road should be paramount in every drivers mind, however many of us of course want to mod our car and make it stand out from the crowd. If you're doing so, make sure you're aware of the laws mentioned above and of course always let your insurance company know if you had carried out any mods to your vehicle. This will keep you safe and other drivers safe should you be involved in an accident.

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Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
It dependends. You will need to have your vehicle looked over to make sure there are no sharp edges that could overly injur pedestrians.
MissYotsuba - 12-Oct-16 @ 7:10 PM
wacko - Your Question:
Hi there, I have a query about a modification I'm wanting to do with a car I own. I was wondering if it is legal to use a riot van style mesh covering the windows any advice would be of great help

Our Response:
We really don't know. Can any of our readers help?
TrafficAccidentAdvice - 2-Sep-15 @ 10:36 AM
Hi there, I have a query about a modification I'm wanting to do with a car I own. I was wondering if it is legal to use a riot van style mesh covering the windows any advice would be of great help
wacko - 1-Sep-15 @ 8:27 PM
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